Friday, October 19, 2012

State Bar calls a District Judge a liar in murder case

Michael Morton, his son, and wife Christine
Court hearing to determine penalty
Austin – A state district judge will soon hold hearings to determine if a former prosecutor should be reprimanded or lose his license to practice law for withholding evidence that led to the false conviction of a man accused of murdering his wife in 1987.

Michael Morton gained his release from the penitentiary in October of last year when the results of a DNA test showed that he could not have been guilty of beating his wife Christine to death while their 3-year-old son watched. He served nearly 25 years for a crime the State of Texas now admits he did not commit.

In a taped interview between Mr. Morton's mother-in-law and Williamson County lead investigator Don Wood, she revealed that the little boy told her that a “monster” who had “red hands” got mad at his mother and killed her with a bludgeon made from a piece of wood.

He told his grandmother that his father was not home at the time of the attack.

Judge Anderson, who was then a prosecutor and thus obliged to turn over any exculpatory evidence requested in a discovery motion from defense attorneys, failed to reveal the existence of the interview, along with a total of 5 such items of evidence that would have cleared Mr. Morton, according to the State Bar investigation.

He is charged with five violations of the rules of professional conduct for attorneys.

Judge Anderson faces a range of punishment that involves an array of penalties including a public reprimand, or the loss of his license to practice law. That penalty would automatically disqualify him for re-election as a District Judge in a court of original jurisdiction which decides the fate of defendants similarly accused of crimes, or a finder of fact empowered to rule in cases involving defendants charged with civil wrongs and complaints. 

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